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Research Article

Deliberative Democracy and the Neglected Dimension of Leadership


Jonathan W. Kuyper

Australian National University, AU
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Although deliberative democracy is flourishing as a political theory, there is a need to properly acknowledge and theorize upon the role of leadership in deliberative processes. Leaders arise in all political situations for traceable reasons and are an essential element of decision-making. Because deliberative democrats emphasize the necessity of deliberation between free and equal citizens for legitimate decision-making, this stands in stark contrast with the emergence and existence of leaders in deliberative settings. The current lack of engagement has numerous implications for deliberative democracy, but most importantly creates a serious gap between theory and practice. This paper takes a pragmatic view of these issues and seeks to analyze the different ways in which leadership occurs during deliberative practice and the potential this holds for recalibrating deliberative democracy. The analysis is limited to deliberative minipublics as a way to highlight and advance my arguments.

How to Cite: Kuyper, J. W. (2012). Deliberative Democracy and the Neglected Dimension of Leadership. Journal of Public Deliberation, 8(1), 4. DOI:
Published on 16 Apr 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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